It’s the 2017 ATP season in review — all the highs, all the lows and, you know, all that Tennis.
The season was full of thrilling moments, classic matches, and plenty of memories nobody will forget in a hurry. And of course, not forgetting how injury-stricken it was.
We’ll go back, have a look, and relive some of the great moments that made the ATP season worthwhile.
Roger Federer Kick-starts Comeback
“You play the ball, you don’t play the opponent. Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here.” And that was it. With those words from his coach, Roger Federer landed a forehand, awaited the result of a video review, he got the point, celebrated wildly and wept. The great Swiss had ended his 5-year wait for a Grand Slam title.
Federer posted a triumph for the ages by conquering his nemesis Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, and kick-started a comeback that saw him win 6 more titles on Tour.
He defeated Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a final that lasted 3 hours and 38 minutes. One that eclipsed all expectations. A show of sheer brilliance, athleticism, respect, and courage. It was a final that will go down as one of the greatest.
The King of Clay Completes La Decima
Before his triumph, Rafael Nadal was unsure if another major title would arrive. Nadal had gone three years without a Grand Slam title and it was as though the great Spaniard was done winning majors.
“I don’t know . . . I never know if I’m going to win another Grand Slam,” Nadal said last December. But, after reaching the Final of the Australian Open and cruising through to the French Open final, those concerns seemed like a distant memory.
The Spaniard put together a nearly flawless performance to beat Stan Wawrinka and win his 10th French Open title as he completed a historic La Decima with a stunning 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory. Nadal would go on to win the US Open title and 4 other titles on Tour, sustaining his resurgence in emphatic fashion.
Marin Cilic is Heart-broken
Battling with a painful blister and trailing Roger Federer by a set and a break at the Wimbledon final, Marin Cilic broke down.
By the time the physio, doctor and tournament supervisor arrived, the beanpole Croat was weeping uncontrollably into his towel.
Cilic struggled with an injury he sustained in the semi-finals but he didn’t give up. He played through the pain.
“That’s what I did throughout my career, I never gave up when I start a match,” he said at the trophy ceremony after losing to Federer, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour, 41 minutes.
One moment that will linger in the hearts of tennis lovers.
The “Tower of Tandil” Defies all Odds
An ill Juan Martin del Potro was heading for a Round of 16 defeat to Dominic Thiem at the US Open, when out of nowhere, the Argentine produced moments of unadulterated magic as he saved two match points with thumping aces to stay in the match and would, with the support of an extremely vociferous crowd, go on to record a 1-6 2-6 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 victory in 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Unarguably one of sport’s great moment. A show of will and strength that tennis fans will cherish for a long, long time.
David Goffin Sacks Nadal and Federer in a Single Week
At the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London, Belgium’s David Goffin made a fool out of bookmakers as he beat title favourites, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in less than 7 days.
The Belgian beat Rafael Nadal 7-6 6-7 6-4 in the group stage to the surprise of everyone, and would go on to record arguably the biggest shock of the season as he beat red-hot favourite, Roger Federer 2-6 6-3 6-4 to book his place in the final. In doing so, he became the only man to beat both Nadal and Federer in 2017, and shockingly, he did it in a single week. How’s that for a shocker?
It’s been an interesting season, but we can’t deny the fact that the absence of some of the big guns made Federer’s comeback quite easy and Nadal’s resurgence swift, seeing how heavily depleted the field was for the second half of the season.
The season is now over, and we can look forward to a more competitive 2018. One that will see the return of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka, and Milos Raonic. And with Novak Djokovic looking to get back to where he belongs in the rankings, Roger Federer looking to keep up his good form, Rafael Nadal aiming to win more Grand Slam titles, and the Next Gen gunning for recognition, we are definitely in for a ride.
Roll on 2018, we are ready!